Is CBD Legal?
Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Is CBD Legal? The short answer is yes. On its own CBD oil is completely legal in the UK. In fact, unlike some parts of the world, the situation here is very clear cut.
CBD is Not a Controlled Substance in the UK
There is nothing in UK law that prohibits the manufacture, distribution, possession or consumption of CBD oil – although there are restrictions on its production. Meanwhile THC, the other prominent chemical in the cannabis plant, is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. This means that it is illegal (with a few exceptions) to manufacture, distribute or possess.
What If CBD Oil Contains Some THC?
If a CBD Oil contained traces of THC (over 0.2%) it would be illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 – the same act that prohibits THC. Thankfully, all CBD products being sold in the UK do not contain any THC, and are both completely legal and unable to produce the "high" associated with THC.
Is CBD Legal to Grow?
If THC is illegal, and the cannabis plant contains both THC and CBD, then how is CBD grown legally? The answer to this is a bit complex, but put simply there are 63 strains of hemp – a variety of the cannabis plant associated with textile production and extremely low THC content – approved by the EU for industrial and commercial growth and use. In the UK there is a specific licence for growing hemp granted by the Home Office, with checks and restrictions to ensure it is not being grown to produce THC.
Is CBD Legal Outside the UK?
Since different countries have legislated the misuse of cannabis differently, the specific legislation around CBD varies internationally. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised that the chemical is not only safe, but holds no signs of generating public health risks or of being used as a recreational drug. In light of this the World Anti-Doping agency has removed it from their list of banned substances in international sport.
Due to EU laws on the production of hemp, the situation across Europe broadly resembles that in the UK. In countries like Canada, where all cannabis and hemp products are legal, there is no restriction on CBD. Meanwhile in the USA the situation is extremely messy, with every State holding a different set of laws (that may or may not differentiate CBD from THC) and a set of unenforced Federal laws which contradict many of these State laws.
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